Hospitality sector opposes lockdown proposal in Maharashtra

30% of hotels and restaurants in the country have shut down permanently due to financial losses, says FHRAI VP
Last Updated 31 March 2021, 02:40 IST

India’s apex hospitality sector association — the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) along with its regional body, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), have vehemently opposed the proposed lockdown in Maharashtra.

Amid rising Covid-19 cases, the Maharashtra government is contemplating a limited lockdown in the days to come.

A night curfew between 8 pm to 7 am is in place across the state, which has affected eateries, restaurants, hotels and bars.

In a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the FHRAI and HRAWI have pointed out that due to the prevailing restrictions and work-from-home arrangements, restaurants have no significant business in the day.

The FHRAI and HRAWI have also pointed out that all other businesses and sectors are entitled to get long business hours even under restricted timelines but restaurants are being singled out due to the specific nature of business and demand.

“As of today, 30 per cent of hotels and restaurants in the country have shut down permanently due to financial losses. Over 20 per cent of hotels and restaurants haven’t opened fully after the lockdown and the remaining 50 per cent continue to run in losses, and revenues are below 50 per cent of the pre-Covid-19 levels,” said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, vice president, FHRAI.

Tourism and hospitality account for close to 10 per cent of India’s GDP and support around 90 million jobs.

“Under the present conditions, non-viability will lead to the closure of hotel and restaurant business in the state and massive job losses,” he added.

It is only after October 2020, that restaurants in Maharashtra were allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity with time restrictions. But the resurgence of the pandemic at regular intervals led to more restrictions disrupting all its revival efforts. The FHRAI & HRAWI have stated that the rental and salary expenses, servicing of debts taken earlier, negative cash flows and the statutory payment obligations have made hospitality the most unviable and unsustainable business in the present situation.

“No government has taken notice of the specific nature of the Hospitality sector whose business is impacted by a host of external factors including the policy of WFH gaining popularity even post the lockdown relaxation, depressed customer sentiments, reduction in business travel and general reduction in discretionary spending on leisure and social spending, prevailing restrictions, uncertainties and protocols imposed by the Government with respect to issuance of tourist visa, quarantine norms and other Covid-19 protocols and more importantly disruption of international commercial airline operations,” says Pradeep Shetty, joint honorary secretary, FHRAI and senior vice president, HRAWI.

(Published 31 March 2021, 02:40 IST)

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